Explaining the stability of occupational sex segregation: The norm of long work hours.ISER Internal Seminars

In Germany we observe an astonishing persistence of occupational sex segregation. The goal of this study is to analyse how the occupation specific norm of long work hours explains this persistence. Institutional approaches assume that the gender segregation is an institution working in favour of the traditional family model: Typical women’s occupations offer better possibilities to combine family and work compared to men’s occupations. Therefore, stronger norms of long work hours in men’s occupations may increase the probability for women to leave those jobs in favour for women’s occupations – a possible motor for the reproduction of segregation in the long run. The hypotheses are tested using the SOEP 2000-2009, merging
the occupational sex composition and the average actual work hours within an occupation (as indicator of the occupational norm of long work hours) from other datasets to the SOEP. Fixed and random effects logit models are used separately for women and men explaining the incidence of leaving men’s occupations. Results show indeed that higher norms of long work hours within the occupation increase the probability of leaving men’s occupations for women, but not for men. Further, running the model only for women living in partnerships shows that the occupational norm of long work hours of the male partner increases the probability to leave men’s occupations into unemployment for women as well. The results can explain why
segregation remains constant despite other societal developments: Although more and more women choose men’s occupations they leave them again after a while because of institutional pressures within working life that stands contrary to family responsibilities.

Presented by:

Anne Busch (DIW-Berlin)

Date & time:

8 Jun 2011 12:00 pm - 8 Jun 2011 13:00 pm


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